At the beginning of the story the narrator announces the subject (Odysseus), the starting point (Odysseus detained by Calypso), and–vaguely–the ending (Odysseus will come home), and sets the action in motion in the form of a divine council in which Odysseus' return is decided. At this point, however, he launches a major retardation †: the Telemachy, Telemachus' meeting with Athena, private and public confrontations with the Suitors, and visits to Nestor in Pylos and Menelaus in Sparta (Books 1–4). Not until Book 5 will he return to his main hero, Odysseus. The briefing on Odysseus provides the narratees with more knowledge than Telemachus has; not until 4.556–60 will he learn what they knew all along, namely that Odysseus is with Calypso.
Deemed suspect by Analysts, the Telemachy is in fact well motivated.1 In the first place there is the actorial motivation † of Athena, the goddess who involves Telemachus in the story: she wants him to win kleos (94–5n.). Telemachus' trip abroad is comparable to the youthful exploits of Nestor (Il. 11.670–762) and Odysseus (Od. 19.393–466 and 21.13–38), and indeed to Odysseus' own Wanderings.2 Both father and son visit impressive palaces, converse for some time with their hosts before identifying themselves (cf. Introduction to 4), and meet with overzealous hosts (cf. Introduction to 15); cf. also 2.332–3 (the fates of father and son are explicitly compared) and 16.17–21 (in a simile Telemachus is cast in the role of a wanderer like____________________